Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Blogging against disablism

Lately, I've been learning a TON about how we, as a society (my county in particular), care for people with disabilities. I still have a lot to learn, but I want to point you to this site. UDES is working to get legislation passed that will allow parents to set up 529-like savings instruments for their children with disabilities.

Sorry this post isn't deeper. I know I need to do better to combat my own disablism. I'm working on it. In the meantime, I'm learning.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

In the garden

Planted: 2 cantelope plants; many green bean seeds; a pot o' basil and parsley.

Found growing: wild raspberry plants.

On its way (from Amazon, via gift certificate): a garden composter; a kitchen composter; Let it Rot.

It may be a very flavorful and garden-y summer!

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Movie Review: Forbidden Kingdom

Went out to see this tonight while a friend babysat for MM.

It was sooooo good! We had a great time. It was the first time MS had been to a theatre to see a movie since December 2001, and it was so worth it.

Forbidden Kingdom is like Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon meets The Princess Bride and The Last Action Hero. Funny and sweet and lots and lots of action. Beautifully filmed too. The parts that take place in Boston have a very gritty texture while the parts in China are lush and rich.

While there were a few opportunities to make a deeper movie that the director didn't capitalize on, I'd recommend this film whole-heartedly. I came out of the theatre excited and happy.

This is definitely a movie we both were glad we saw on the big screen.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Ahoy, 'Maties! (and cukes and zukes)

In the ground today: two Big Boy tomato plants; two "burpless" cucumber plants, two zucchini plants.

Out of the ground today: lots and lots and lots of rocks. Including one bigger than my left tit.

In the ground tomorrow: green bean seeds.

Sometime this weekend: we'll start a planter full of basil. I'm going to have a pesto-filled summer.

Next up in the Aero Garden: Romaine lettuce.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Quiz Answers

  1. "The eastern seaboard is crammed with dead people". Charlaine Harris, An Ice Cold Grave. Charlaine Harris is the Guest of Honor this year. I love her work. She's got several series, all of which are well-written and as delicious as a box of Godiva Truffles. She also has some stand-alones which, while satisfying, leave you wishing she would make them into series because the characters are so engaging.

  2. "By nine o'clock that Thursday night, there was little outward indication that murder had occurred six floors above the busy midtown Manhattan avenue." Margaret Maron, Death in Blue Folders*. Y'all know how much I love me some Margaret Maron. She's moderating the panel on the best new novel nominations this year. Nominated for what, you ask? I'll get to that in a moment.

  3. "Late at night when the dreams woke him, he would lie in the dark and try to forget the faces of people he'd watched die." Earlene Fowler, Steps to the Altar. Earlene Fowler writes a great series set in the California horse country with a richly-drawn set of characters. Her main character, Benni Harper, curates a quilt museum. All the titles in the series are based on quilt patterns.

  4. "It was five o'clock on a winter's morning in Syria." I think you might count this as cheating...It's Agatha Christie. Murder on the Orient Express. Agatha "attends" Malice Domestic every year. The annual awards that are given out at their banquet are named for her. See? I told you I'd come back to what they were being nominated for!

I'm sad to also be missing Carole Nelson Douglas. I love her Irene Adler series (beginning with Good Night, Mr. Holmes). I didn't see her name on the program at first, or I'd have included her in the quiz.

I'm gonna be there next year!

*You people have no idea how much it irritates me that this book is out-of-print. The idiocy of publishers astounds me.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Book Quiz! I'm Missing Malice Domestic Edition


I have class Saturday morning and it's just too much money to spend on something I'm not going to be able to attend all of.

To the Quiz!!!
  1. The eastern seaboard is crammed with dead people.
  2. By nine o'clock that Thursday night, there was little outward indication that murder had occurred six floors above the busy midtown Manhattan avenue.
  3. Late at night when the dreams woke him, he would lie in the dark and try to forget the faces of people he'd watched die.
  4. It was five o'clock on a winter's morning in Syria.

Now, to be fair, I have to say that one of these books is out of print. Three are by authors who will be AT THE CONVENTION. And one is by an author who is always at the convention.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

I can't believe I missed it

April 6, 2005 was my first blog post. I missed my blogiversary.

I didn't post anything 3 years ago today, but I did post something 3 years ago tomorrow.

I didn't post anything 2 years ago today, but I did post something 2 years ago yesterday. Two days after I posted my original 20 sentences.

I didn't post anything 1 year ago today, either. But I did post something a year ago tomorrow.

In fact, this is the first year I posted something on 04/22. But every year I've posted something on 04/21 and 04/23.

Thank you all for being here. For being my friends. For being the loving, funny, delicious people you are. I love visiting with you and having you come here to visit with me. I love getting to know you. I miss you when you are gone.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Thank you.

YOu all make me feel so much better. I have no words to express how much I love you all and how supported I feel by you.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Not Speaking

Speech posted below.

I Am

Faculty members, my family, my friends, welcome. I’m just so glad to be here with you all today. It’s been a long time coming. In 2006, during my first semester here, I took a communications course with the aptly named [communications aptonym]. She had us do an intriguing exercise. Write 20 sentences starting with the words, “I am.”

The first several sentences are easy: I am a woman. I am a mother. I am a wife. I am a daughter, a sister, a friend. I am a student at Nearby University. I am 39. Then it gets a bit harder. How do you describe yourself? I am Jewish. I am very short. I am a reader. I am a knitter. I am…

When I first did this exercise over two years ago, I thought about what I would have written when I was in college the first time, at 18. Who was I then? How would I have described myself? Some of the sentences would have been the same; others would have been very different. I was not a mother or a wife. I didn’t know how to knit. I was, at the time, an indifferent student, because I only did well in classes that interested me. But have I really changed? I still only do well in the classes that interest me, but the difference is that, this time around, I find all my classes interesting. I see the connections between them. I see their connections to me. My time here has made me feel more connected to the world itself. I see the connections between myself and the greater community, between my choices and actions and their ripples outward. I see the connections between what I have learned as a student, as a mother, as a wife, and as a daughter. Unlike my 18-year-old self, I no longer ask, “Will I ever use this in the outside world?” I know the answer. Everything we learn, we use. As a student I use what I’ve learned as a mother, as a wife, as an employee. As a mother, as a wife, as I live in the world, I use what I’ve learned here.

What would I have written ten years later, about mid-way between my 18-year-old self and now? I was married. I was a college drop out. I was in therapy. I was learning to program computers after spending years managing a bookstore. I was a New Yorker. My husband and I were contemplating our move down to Northern Virginia and I struggled with that decision, since so much of my identity was as a New Yorker. As a non-driver. A pedestrian. A city girl. My time at Nearby U. has made me feel like a Virginian. Being a part of this community, diverse and welcoming, has helped me finally feel at home in this very different place from where I grew up. This global community of students and faculty, of all ages and nations, has made me feel more at home here than anything else I’ve encountered in my ten years in Northern Virginia, even including my husband’s election last year to the [thing he got elected to].

During the election season, I realized that Ms. Aptonym’s class was even more valuable than I had thought. Her lessons helped me immensely going door to door and talking to people on back-to-school nights. My Women and Work class, my Psychology in the Community class, oh heck…every single class I’ve taken here taught me something that I used during the campaign. During my classes I saw the connections between the History of Religion, the History of Western Civilization, and their connection to Hawaiian Dance. I saw the connections between Small Group Communications, Women and Work, and Psychology. I saw the connections between the books I’ve read for pleasure and the books I read for class. The connections between knitting and politics. If you don’t think knitters can change the world, then you haven’t seen one turn a long piece of string into a cable knit sweater*.

Professors are not the only ones who taught me here. I also learned from my classmates. In my classes have been students who are old enough to be my mother, and a teacher nearly young enough to be my daughter. And I have learned from everyone. Everything I have learned has helped me to grow, to become.

What will I write when I am 49? When I am 59? 80? Who will I be and how will I describe myself? The years ahead are as open for me at 39 as they are for those of my classmates in their twenties. We are, as the existentialist Rollo May has said, constantly changing, becoming. I am.

I am. I am a mother, a wife, a daughter, a sister, a granddaughter, a friend. I am 39. I am, to my own surprise, a good student. I am a reader. I am a knitter. I am political. I am short. I am hopeful. I am strong. I am silly. I am loved and loving. I am proud and grateful today that I can also say, finally, I am a college graduate and that the college was Nearby University

*Thanks to Stephanie Pearl-McPhee for inspiring this line.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Dreaming of blueberry pancakes

We just planted two late-fruiting blueberry bushes. Sometime next year, we will take a collander, go out the door of our screened-in porch, down the steps onto the patio, around the corner to the shady side of the house, and pick blueberries. Then we will bring them back inside, rinse them, pat them dry, and make blueberry pancakes with our own blueberries.

Monday, April 14, 2008


I made pesto again today, using the basil, parsley, and mint from our Aerogarden. And 8 cloves of garlic. (Oh! and olive oil, cheese, and pine nuts).

10 hours and 7 scrubbings later and my hands are still perfuming the air with their pungent aroma.

I can't wait to eat the sauce over rotelle tomorrow night.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

I think it's called TMI.

So I bought some new bras yesterday (34 Ginormous). And new shirts today (XL). And I have to tell you people that there is only one time when I don't like my body - when I'm buying clothes for it.

As you all know, I'm short. Short. Fifty-nine inches in my stocking feet. My arms are in proportion to that. My bodacious tatas not so much.

How to buy a shirt that doesn't gap in the front and, at the same time, doesn't make me look like I raided my husband's closet? And that I can afford?

Well, the Merona shirts come close to perfection on those points. The XL is a tad bit too long in the torso for me, but not so much that it looks bad. It's got princess seaming so it doesn't look like a man's shirt. It satisfies the "no pockets" rule (never, ever wear a shirt with pockets on it if you have a bosom the size of a small country). The sleeves are about 2 inches too long, but they have a long cuff that folds tidily without being obvious. And they're $18.00.

They come in an elbow-sleeve version, but that actually looked like crap on me. I think elbow sleeves draw attention to my bust line.

Finding a bra that fits, is supportive, and doesn't have a seam across the front was a true adventure. The Fantasie 4500 seems to fill the bill quite nicely. I liked my Wacoal minimizer better but, alas, Wacoal doesn't make it for the G market. Neither is the Fantasie 4500 as lovely as my Fayreform Daisy (in chocolate), but the Daisy is not smooth. It draws attention to itself under light solid colors and thin fabrics. And even the cream version has pink details on it which show under a white shirt.

Last year (seriously, almost to the day), the whole process made me feel horrible about myself. This year, I just feel frustrated at the lack of choices. It's not me, it's the lack of choice in clothing sizes. Thank God for the HAES movement. It's made all the difference to my mood this time.

I don't have any of the usual front-loaded problems, either. No backaches, very little gouging in the shoulders, generally no angry red marks all over (the result of wearing the right bra and not slouching...when you're not quite five-feet tall, you tend to stand up straight).

I do want to put y'all on alert, though. A time is coming when my breasts are going to be a big enough pain in my ass that I'm going to want to take them down a notch or two - but only if I can be reasonably sure that they'd stay there. And y'all? Still leaking. 5+ years post pumping.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Mummy/Crit asks...

What's so unfortunate about the local baseball team's logo?

Well, it's a W. A Dubya, if you will.

And since he doesn't seem to have been phased at all by this, I'm guessing that he felt having so many people wearing his initial cancelled out a few hecklers.

Friday, April 11, 2008

RBOC: TGIF edition

  • This was gardening week at Chez Mystere. We put pansies (mostly dark and light purple, some blood red, two yellow) in the beds that line the front walk and de-thatched the lawn. We also did some soil analysis and while our soil is maxed out on the potassium, it's got absolutely no nitrogen, so it looks like we are entering fertilizer city this weekend.
  • Tonight we are going to the circus which has coopted the parking lots at Nearby U. Front row seats at $12.00 a pop! I love my Student ID!!!
  • Tomorrow my boys (the hubband and the son) are going to see the major league baseball team with the unfortunate logo play.

What are you doing this weekend?

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Gene Weingarten has lost me.

I'm not reading him anymore. His stance on this issue, that an overweight pageant winner sends an unhealthy message while one that smokes does not, is a deal-breaker for me. He will not even consider that Chloe Marshall might be more healthy than her skinnier peers in the pageant circuit. Please note that I'm not linking to his post on this, either. He can get readers on his own from now on, TYVM.

Instead of reading about his notions of what comprises a good standard of beauty, go here, and see what millenia of artists have thought about it instead.

FWIW, I have a BMI slightly lower than Ms. Marshall's. Not that BMI is the end-all-be-all. But because I have skinny arms and legs, my torso is quite a bit wider than hers...and I wear a size 8 Petite in LL Bean Flannel-lined Relaxed Fit Jeans, a size 6 in Jones NY Sport, and a size 10 in everything else. So there, Mr. "She's lying about her clothes size" Weingarten.

Monday, April 07, 2008

What MM would sing if he thought of it.

Star Wars! Nothing but Star Wars!
We're playing Star Wars each day after school.
Star Wars! PS2 Star Wars!
Next to Lego Star Wars nothing can seem cool.
Without Lego Star Wars our days are empty indeed
For Lego Star Wars we perform amazingly derring deeds
(like getting no strikes)
So it's Star Wars! Yes! Lego Star Wars!
We're playing Star Wars! My parents and me!
Star Wars! I love me my Star Wars!
Oh my sweet Star Wars, how much I love thee!

Saturday, April 05, 2008

I miss you guys.

The three people I read the most when I started reading blogs three years ago aren't posting anymore.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008


Just flipping lovely.

"Memo: Laws Didn't Apply to Interrogators"


Nearby U has a slot for a student speaker at Commencement. I sent in a speech. I do so hope that they pick mine.

Whether they do or not, I'll post it here after the commencement ceremony.